Grilled Bison Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Crispy Shiitakes

MAKES 4 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 15 minutes • COOK TIME: 30 minutes

I know it says bison here, but that lean meat (bison=buffalo) is really just a great excuse to hold a mushroom-a-palooza while getting a load of brain-boosting B12. First we mix the bison with chopped-up cremini mushrooms. Then on top go a few crispy shiitakes that have been tossed with smoked paprika and olive oil. In between? Caramelized onions (ummmmmm . . . ). Put it all on a lily pad of butter lettuce and it tastes like a Tower of Umami! The mushrooms also provide a hit of hardto-find vitamin D, which University of Kentucky researchers found plays an important role in reducing oxidative damage in the brain that impacts learning.

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 large red onion, sliced


1 pound ground bison
3 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and finely processed in a food processor
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 skinless, boneless anchovies
Sea salt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
Pinch of red pepper flakes
4 butter lettuce leaves, washed and dried

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the shiitakes in a bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and paprika, tossing until evenly coated. Arrange the mushrooms in a single layer on the prepared sheet pan and roast until crisp and browned, about 20 minutes.  

To caramelize the onions, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the onion and a generous pinch of salt. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the onion is caramelized and very soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the pan.

To make the burgers, place the bison, cremini mushrooms, parsley, and black pepper in a large bowl. Rinse the anchovies and, in a small bowl or mortar and pestle, mash them to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Using the same skillet as the onions, heat the 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the mashed anchovies, stirring to combine. Sauté for 1 minute then transfer this mixture to the large bowl with the meat and mushroom
mixture. Using your hands, gently mix until everything is well combined. Shape into 4 equal-size patties.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat and lightly coat with a neutral-flavored oil. Grill the patties, turning once, for 3 minutes per side.

Serve each patty on a lettuce leaf topped with some caramelized onion and crispy shiitake mushrooms.

Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Mind Cookbook Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.